With the first full week of classes underway, motivations may dwindle as assignments, readings, and midterm schedules come out. The workload can be overwhelming, which is why finding your motivation and keeping it is especially important. Although this task may seem daunting, these five tips will help ignite your drive and assist you in having a successful first semester.
1. Buy a planner (and actually use it)
We are all guilty of buying a cute planner, using it the first week of classes, and then never touching it again. If done correctly, however, a planner can be life changing. The best way to ensure you will actually use your planner is to buy one small enough to fit in a larger purse; that way, you have no excuse but to bring it everywhere. Also, find one that has separate sections for daily, weekly, and monthly planning to allow yourself more space and flexibility. Next, I would suggest sitting down with all of your course outlines and writing every due date and test down. Then, you can start planning ahead when to begin each project/begin studying. Another important tip is to keep in mind that your planner is a guide and, besides due dates, things are not set in stone and may change throughout the year. The goal is to just keep using it.
2. Reward yourself
When you complete a task or meet a deadline, reward yourself! It can be something as small as indulging in your favourite treat to something bigger like grabbing dinner/drinks with a friend. If you have something to look forward to, you will be more inclined to reach your goals.
3. Use your support system
Everyone needs help sometimes, and asking for it doesn’t make you weak. When you are struggling with motivation, try asking a friend to study with you. Knowing that your friend is waiting for you at the library is far more likely to make you actually go. Other days, you may just need someone reminding you why you’re doing this and how capable you are; at those times, I suggest calling your mom or another trusted family member for a quick pep talk. If you are struggling with the course work itself, utilize the office hours your professors or TAs have–they are there to help you!
4. Have a morning routine
Getting up earlier and following a morning routine will help you feel excited about each day and allow you more time to complete the things you need to do. I also find that when I get up earlier, I feel better about myself and in turn am able to accomplish more. Your routine can be completely customized to suite your needs, but here is a simple one to get you started: a) use an alarm clock out of reach from your bed; b) get some fresh air right away by stepping outside or opening a window; c) make yourself breakfast/have coffee; d) relax and let your mind wake up by doing something you love like catching up on a few YouTube videos; e) shower/wash your face. Feel free to use this list as a base point and mix it up as needed!
5. Keep the end in sight
We all love to daydream how we will eventually be mega successful in a career we love that satisfies us financially and mentally, but we often overlook the steps it takes to get there. Keep in mind that although you may not know what that dream career is yet, completing your undergrad is an essential step to the process. In addition, university teaches you so much beyond the classroom: how to cope under stress, how to care for yourself, what you like/dislike, and many other invaluable lessons. Sometimes rediscovering your motivation is about taking a step back and seeing the bigger picture. It may also be helpful to make a physical representation of what your end goals are (i.e an inspiration board) and to keep it somewhere you see a lot, like your desk at home.
You’ve got this HC UBC!
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